AJPH News Release
EMBARGOED UNTIL July 15, 2010, 4 PM (ET)
CONTACT: For copies of articles or full table of contents of issue, call APHA Communications at 202-777-2511 or email us.
The articles below will be published online July 15, 2010, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look,” and they are currently scheduled to appear in the September 2010 print issue of the Journal. “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association.
American Journal of Public Health Highlights:
· Television food marketing aimed at children largely promotes unhealthy foods
· School-based health centers can make a positive impact on the health of middle and high school students
· Participation in social welfare programs by mothers in need is greatly influenced by maternal health literacy rate
Television food marketing aimed at children largely promotes unhealthy foods
Children are exposed to high volumes of television advertising for unhealthy foods, featuring child-orientated persuasive techniques, claims a new multi-national study from the American Journal of Public Health.
Researchers compared television food advertising to children in several countries, spanning Australia, Asia, Western Europe, and North and South America. Thirteen research groups in these regions recorded programming for two weekdays and two weekend days between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. for the three channels most watched by children, between October 2007 and March 2008. Researchers classified food advertisements as “core,” meaning nutrient dense and low in energy, while “noncore” signified food high in undesirable nutrients or energy. They found that food advertisements composed 11 percent to 29 percent of advertisements. Noncore foods high in undesirable nutrients were featured in 53 percent to 87 percent of food advertisements, and the rate of noncore food advertising was higher during children’s peak viewing times.
“Our findings suggest that if children watch television only two hours per day and if this viewing takes place during the most popular broadcast periods for children, they are exposed to between 56 and 126 food advertisements per week,” the study’s authors report. “Limiting this food marketing is an important preventative strategy against childhood obesity, and the development or extension of statutory regulations to prohibit unhealthy food advertising when a significant number of children are watching could be a useful first step.”
[From: “Television Food Advertising to Children: A Global Perspective.” Contact: Bridget Kelly, Prevention Research Collaboration, University of Sydney, Australia].
School-based health centers can make a positive impact on the health of middle and high school students
Students who make use of school-based health centers reported better general health than non-users, finds a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.
Researchers examined the effects of school-based health centers on the health and health behaviors of middle and high school students. They did so over two consecutive years through student self-reports. Middle and high school students were recruited from matched schools with and without school-based health centers. Researchers found that of the 744 students who participated in the study, users of school-based health centers experienced greater satisfaction with their health, more physical activity and greater consumption of healthy food than did students who did not use school-based health centers.
“Our results indicate that school-based health center use is associated with a behavior that counteracts a primary contributing factor to obesity among children and adolescents: physical activity,” said the study’s authors. “These findings highlight the importance of efforts to promote parental awareness of school-based health centers and student use of school-based health centers as ways to enhance these potential benefits.”
[From: “The Impact of School-Based Health Centers on the Health Outcomes of Middle School and High School Students.” Contact: Miles A. McNall, PhD, University Outreach and Engagement, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.].
Participation in social welfare programs by mothers in need is greatly influenced by maternal health literacy rate
Maternal health literacy affects child participation in social welfare programs, a new American Journal of Public Health study indicates.
Researchers examined the influence of maternal health literacy on child participation in social welfare programs. Twenty percent of the mothers had inadequate or marginal health literacy. Using data from Health Insurance Improvement Project, Medicaid-eligible mothers and their infants were recruited from a large Philadelphia hospital’s postpartum wards between June 2005 and August 2006. 744 participants enrolled in the study. Researchers found that children whose mothers had adequate or marginal health literacy were more than twice as likely to participate in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families as were children whose mothers had inadequate health literacy at baseline and six months.
“Our findings indicated that systematic changes in enrollment procedures can be made to promote participation in public programs that benefit children,” wrote the authors. “Initiatives to increase enrollment in public programs might focus on simplifying procedures, whereas welfare-to-work evaluations may focus on promoting educational attainment.”
[From: “Influence of Maternal Health Literacy of Child Participation in Social Welfare Programs: The Philadelphia Experience.” Contact: Juliann Walsh, Media Relations Specialist, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia-North, Philadelphia, Pa.].